Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Red Stripe

Happy Winter Solstice....and a Happy New Year .

To all.

It's been a tricky year, struggles and stress, but yet there is still so much to be grateful for...

6 inches wide, 10 epi

This tapestry I finished in the fall sums it up for me. A young person determined and hopeful. Creative and ready to face what lies ahead. I call it The Red Stripe.

multiple pieces worked on the loom

Young people inspire me to move forward, to trust in their ideas, to care about their decisions.

Happy New Year to all, stay creative and be kind.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Substitute Tales at the Ballweg Gallery

I wanted to show you how the show I recently hung at the Ballweg Gallery looked, so I brought my camera with me today. This gallery is part of the very active Goodman Community Center located on the east side of Madison, Wisconsin. The calendar of events today was impressive and ranged from Christmas parties to preschool to after school programs.

Here is what the hall looks like, located right off the main entrance.

people pass this area on the way to event rooms

I was especially happy with the effect of mixing the various media together in the show; journal, sketches, and tapestries.

one section of the wall

A few closeups for you...

on the left is the shadow box with my journal

these 3 are 6x6 inches and I made the proud

sketches from the journal, 8 x 10 inches

i framed 4 of the sketches

and 6 of the tapestries were mounted on painted canvas

It's quite gratifying to see it hung up and organized and inspires me to add to it in 2018.

I needed a new goal.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Four Selvedge Conquered

Well not really. I guess I should have said, " 4 selvedge finished".

That alone is something for me to be proud of.

four selvedge warping set-up on a Sara Swett inspired loom

As you may remember, I went off to see my friends Traudi and Jeanne for the 4 selvedge fun this past October. I learned that there is some skill involved in the warping, particularly in maintaining even warp tension from side to side.
I'm glad I followed advice to make a narrow piece. This is part of my ongoing series of questions: Who ?

ah, the telltale unevenness of a 4 selvedge warp amateur...that funky edge at the top.

One interesting thing I noticed involved values, as my Who suddenly turned into Whop. I couldn't get that out of my mind so I rewove that shape this morning to a lighter value.

Always something to learn.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Red Stripe

I'm always interested in the development of an idea and where that germ begins. The piece I am weaving now began with a tree down the street last autumn . The colors were incredible, the warm reds and greens of the sugar maple. Near the end of my dyeing season I had just enough stock to do a few complementary runs and fiddled with the formula for the actual red and green. In particular, I wanted a warmer red.

I over-dyed greys and charcoal along with my usual white and cream and did 3 different depth of shades to get lights and darks. What else to do with the results but work on a portrait.

laying in the initial blues for the t-shirt

As you can see from my photos I have started the face next to my last tiny t, it's about 6" wide and I'm not sure how tall it will become before it ends.

had to block out that gal on the left so I could see properly...

All the yarns for the skin tones are dyed from this sugar maple mixture. The dyed hair stripe gives credit to the great advances in such things since my mother told me never bother dyeing my hair - it's bleach blonde or jet black you have to choose from. Now, so many marvelous choices.

notice I re-wove the shadows of the nostrils...a touch too dark

The eyes will appear soon. This girl means business.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Four Selvedge Weave

For years now I have been saying, "I'll have to try that four selvedge weave"

It started with workshops Archie and Susan were giving (I couldn't go at the time), descriptions I read, Susan's elegant examples, and finally, Sara Swett's wonderful Field Guide to Needlework blog. That was the final straw. I needed to see what the deal was with this 4 selvedge mania.

Traudi and Jeanne, yes I know they are on their devices...

After whining about "never getting around to it" on a Facebook posting, leave it to my friend Traudi to get me going; our friend Jeanne Bates was heading to MN, why not drive over and we could do this together?

I had the loom (carefully following Sara's photo of the nifty little galvanized pipe loom she made) and plenty of materials, including the instructions I printed out on ATA's website.

I agreed.

look toward the loops at the right...see the uneven ones?, that will be trouble...

So here is where I am now with this process.

decided I'd do one of my simple 2 color word strips, designed it on some scrap

3 inches wide, 6epi 

my favorite triangle of 'minus 2's', the first letter of Who?

I'm so grateful to Traudi and Jeanne for getting me over there (non stop laughs with those two), but that was a very labor intensive warping session, probably 4 hours plus. Obviously I was solving problems, redoing, and developing understanding; another day I would be more efficient. But I would really question the reason I'm using this method.

I'm glad I chose to weave another of my word series, it may be a good fit. And I'm certainly glad to have a better understanding of what 4 selvedge weave really means.

Thanks Traudi.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Testing Some Handspun

I have quite a pile of hand-spun and I'm beginning to think I should pay attention to it. Although I've owned wheels in the past I only use a drop spindle now, so I though I would pull it out and see what happened with some dyed roving I have...from somewhere.

This seductive painted roving can be tricky - what looks great in a roving becomes grey and mixes as you spin the sections. I was interested in what I could do with such a bright multicolored hand-spun (of course a face came to mind) and so I began to spin.

fleece, singles, 2-ply and wound bobbins

I started a 4 inch warp with no planned idea other than a face at the end. Although I often don't ink on a cartoon, usually a sketch is involved at some point along the way, just to get the idea growing. In this case it was entirely designed on the loom.

4 inches wide, 10 epi, no name yet...

Naturally a bit of the wedge weave had to sneak in. The red parts are some hand-dyed norsk, so is the yellow. Otherwise her outfit is from that roving.

I'm intrigued by what an impact that yellow triangle's fun to explore.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Coffee Conversations

Time to update the tiny T's I keep on my website and sell via Etsy . I never tire of heading to the coffee shop a few blocks away and so I've created an ongoing series called Coffee Conversations. It brings together my two favorite pastimes - sketching and weaving.

The first part is simple; spend Saturday morning with sketching bag and coffee at the coffee shop. Saturday is pretty active there with lots of turnover and that's what I'm looking for. I usually fill 2-3 pages with an assortment of people I see and include any amusing observations that might help me remember something later.

7 x 10 inch sketchbook, ink pen and colored pencil

Once home I look at the sketches and decide which will be the most fun to weave. I want a variety of different types of people and lately I've been combining wedge weave with traditional tapestry, so I'm looking for opportunities to use that too.

didn't stray too much, but there are differences in the weaving...

Usually I draw a quick cartoon to size which I place next to me and slip under the warps when needed. I only completed 3 coffee tapestries this time as a few landscapes snuck in that warp.

4 inches wide, 10 epi

No problem, it's nearly fall and time to head back to see who I can sketch for the next round of conversations.

Coffee Conversation No. 6

Coffee Conversation No. 7

Coffee Conversation No. 8

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tapestry Weaving at Sievers

I'm back from my workshop at Sievers Fiber Arts School, back from the quiet cups of coffee at daybreak, back from the four days where all we thought about was weaving. In fact I only got in my car once.
What a treat. It all started here. This is called The Walter Studio and it is a room filled with light and views of the willow patch planted and used in classes at Sievers.

The nifty batik hanging there was made by a previous batik class.

I designed this class around color blending and values used to create landscape inspired by our surroundings. Washington Island is an unusual place with a distinct landscape and I wanted my ten students to take advantage of it.

The rain cleared just enough to draw at Jackson Harbor one afternoon.
I was very pleased with the ways students integrated the results of that afternoon into their woven pieces letting tapestry language guide them rather than being too attached to their drawings. It really reinforced the value of spending this time sketching and looking and I hope to combine the two more often in my workshops.

So proud of her...she had never woven before!
My biggest take away is that there is so much power in The Group. Whether it was sharing info on materials, offering suggestions on each others work or just have a cup of coffee together, there was so much wonderful energy. Imagine a chance to see what nine other people are going to come up with on the loom, 9 different ideas.
What an opportunity.

Discussing looms...

We even had a mother/daughter team...

And more bragging...

Take time from your daily duties to celebrate the landscape where you are and, as the 11 of us did last week, stay creative.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Almost Ready for Washington Island

Sievers here we come!

On August 16th eleven eager tapestry weavers will come together at Sievers School of Fiber Arts on Washington Island in Wisconsin. This will be my second visit there and it's really a unique part of the country, accessed only by ferryboat. The ride provides a good opportunity for sketching and I'll have the sketching bag packed.
Right now it's time to focus on tapestry. I've been doing dye pots like crazy,

complementary color gradations, Norsk 2ply

but who can resist all those little balls in a row.

Making last minute landscape samples in the wee hours of the morning...

when I get up, it's coffee and weave, every day.

Checking the cupboards for samples I made last winter,

Schoolhouse Beach, 9 inches x 6 inches
And seeing if the yarns hanging outside are dry enough to put into balls.

series of scarlet red overdyes

So much to do, but so worth it. After all, is there anything more fun than being with 10 other weavers for 4 days away from the duties of life?

I'll be ready Washington Island.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Progress on Substitute Tales

Last you met these tapestries they were in a pile after cut off, the other side of the Donut Man warp.

No and Taller Than You in progress

Now here they are neat and tidy (and professionally photographed, thanks Radlund Photography). The question then becomes, what next?

Eggs for Papa, 6 x 8 inches

Make Me, 6 x 10 inches

No, 6 x 8 inches

Taller Than You, 6 x 8 inches

I'm fortunate to have the Goodman Community Center here in Madison, offering a variety of services including the Ballweg Gallery , a venue for Madison artists. I'm signed up for December 2017 for an initial showing of the work.

Yikes! I better get going...

preliminary work

Along with tapestries there are sketches, drawings, haiku, and even my journal where I made the notes after each day of substituting. I'll also need to write some explanation for viewers.

The first thing I'm working on is the presentation of the tapestries. Simplicity will be important with these distorted weavings; you want to make sure every zigzag and slit shows. Smaller traditionally woven pieces will need some frames made...

Looks like a busy couple months ahead.